How to Cut Images in Affinity Designer

With Affinity Designer, you have many tools and features at your disposal. The application interface boasts user-friendly navigation, no matter your level of expertise. Learning the basics of Affinity Designer is a fast and easy process.

To understand the full scope of what you can do in Affinity Designer, you can find resources to help you navigate the functions and show you what the application is capable of beyond the basics. Keep reading to find out how you can cut images in Affinity Designer.

How to Cut or Crop Images in Affinity Designer

Often, cutting and cropping are terms that are used interchangeably. There are several methods to execute this function. Cropping is limited to a square or rectangular area, and it typically involves resizing an image and cutting any unnecessary elements from an image.

Cutting is more aesthetic as you can cut your image into various shapes, like a heart or a star. You can also use this method with blocks of text.

Cropping an Image

Affinity Designer has a Vector Cropping Tool that you can use to cut or resize your image.

  1. Open your image in Affinity Designer by navigating to File > Open.
  2. Once your image is on the canvas, select it and navigate to the Vector Crop Tool in the toolbar to the left of the canvas.
  3. A bounding box will automatically appear around your image, and you will see handles on the corners and sides of the image.
  4. Selecting the corner handle, drag in while pressing down the Shift key to constrain the crop; otherwise, the crop could adjust unevenly.
  5. To draw the image in or out from the center point, click and drag while pressing down the CTRL key.

You will notice that the canvas is not affected when the image is cropped. When you use the Vector Crop tool, you will see the layer appear beneath the image.

 The Vector Crop Tool allows you to crop the image non-destructively, so you don’t have to use the Undo button. Non-destructively means that the cropped portion of the image hasn’t been deleted, so you always adjust the crop if needed.

You can move the image around within the cropped area.

  1. Click on the image to select it. The cursor will change into a box to indicate the image can be moved.
  2. Just click and drag the image to reposition it within the crop.

If you want to move the newly cropped image around the canvas, you must unlock the layer first.

  1. In the Layers Panel, on the right side of the canvas, click on the padlock icon next to the layer.
  2. Once you’ve unlocked the layer, you can use the Move Tool in the toolbar to move your image around on the canvas.

If you want to make the newly cropped image the size of your canvas, you can still edit the image.

  1. Click on the newly cropped image layer in the Layer Panel
  2. You will see dots in the corners and sides of the image called bounding box handles. Adjust the handles to fit the image to the canvas.

Cutting an Image

You can cut an image by using the Shape Tools in the toolbar. If one of the various shapes you can select from in the toolbar doesn’t meet your needs, you can create your own shape using the Pen Tool in Affinity Designer.

  1. Open your image in Affinity Designer by navigating to File > Open.
  2. Once your image is on the canvas, navigate to the toolbar to the left of the canvas and select the Shape Tool.
  3. Select the shape you desire, click and drag it onto the canvas
  4. Navigate to the Layer Panel, click and drag the layer with the shape over the layer with the background image. So, the layer panel should have the layer with the shape first and the background second.
  5. You will see the layer in the Layer Panel highlighted blue, and the background image will now be cut in the shape parameters.

If you would like to position the shape in the exact spot you desire before cutting it:

  1. Make the shape transparent with the Transparency Tool in the toolbar. Make sure the shape is selected first.
  2. Once transparent, reposition it to your desired placement on the image.
  3. Make the shape a solid color.
  4. Follow the remaining steps for cutting an image

If you would like to position the image within the shape after cutting it:

  1. Unlock the background by clicking the padlock icon next to the background layer in the Layer Panel.
  2. Click on the Vector Crop Tool in the toolbar
  3. Select the background layer from the Layer Panel
  4. Put your cursor over the image, and a small crop box should appear. If not, click and drag the image.
  5. Reposition the image within the shape to your desire.

How to Export Your Image in Affinity Designer

Once you have your image cut how you want it, you can add more elements to your design or export the image as is. If you choose to export your image, make sure you know what file format you would like your image to be saved in.

  1. Navigate to File > Export
  2. A dialogue box will appear, and you will select the settings for the following:
    • File format
    • Size
    • Preset             
    • Resample
    • Quality
    • Area
  3. Once you’ve made your selections for each setting, click on Export.

The best file format for your image depends on what you are using your image for, web or print. The file formats shown in the Export dialogue box are PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, PDF, SVG, WMF, EPS, EXR, HDR, and TGA.


Now you know that cutting and cropping are used interchangeably, but regardless of the terms used, you have the correct tools to execute either function in Affinity Designer. If you run into a snag in the instructions for cropping or cutting, refer to Affinity support for further assistance.